Graduate receptions offer a chance to reflect

On their last full day as Elon seniors, students mingled with classmates and faculty at graduate receptions hosted by their respective schools.

The one-hour receptions provided students the chance to introduce parents to faculty mentors, laugh with friends and share their plans for life after tomorrow’s Commencement ceremony.

Michael Gross, a strategic communications major, grabbed a snack and relaxed with his parents outside of McEwen Building before a full weekend of activities, including the Hillel Graduation Reception later in the day. Gross wants to pursue a career in advertising and is weighing graduate school or internships in the Washington, D.C., area.

Standing near Gross, Rebecca Smith chatted with Amanda Gallagher, assistant professor of communications, while her family looked on. Smith received the School of Communications Outstanding Senior Award for Journalism and traveled to Geneva, Switzerland in April as part of an Elon team covering the Global INET world technology conference.

“After graduation, I’m moving to New York for the bridges program,” Smith says. The nine-week Elon program introduces recent graduates to New York and Los Angeles and provides dedicated professional development opportunities. “I’ll miss so many people here, but I’m excited for what’s next.”

Across campus, students in Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences and the School of Education gathered outside their schools’ porches sipping pink lemonade and nibbling on cookies.

Jasmine Azimi, an elementary education major, held her graduation robe and stood with her family as she recounted what she’ll miss about Elon — classes that challenged her perspective, dinners with professors at The Root and a tight-knit community that radiated support.

The Fairfax, Va. resident is moving closer to home after Commencement and is in the process of securing a teaching job.

“I have a job interview Tuesday,” she said. “I just can’t believe the time went by so fast.”

Sarah Rezac, a psychology major; Dana Spitz, an exercise science major; and Christian Hansen, a music performance major, each stood outside of Lindner Hall chatting with family and friends about four years of hard work, research and the people they met along the way.

Rezac, who will study animal behavior after graduation, laughed while remembering running around before dawn with Dave Gammon, assistant professor of biology, as they worked on mockingbird research.

“My favorite professor is Tom Erdmann,” said Hansen, a member of the Phoenix Jazz Quartet. “He always pushed us to think analytically and critically about music that we listen to.”

As the receptions continued, graduating seniors in the Martha and Spencer Love School of Business gathered around Chandler Fountain to mug for photos.

Brian Andrews, an international business major, and Nikki Rodriguez, a marketing major with a sales concentration, stood several yards back from the fountain as they caught up with friends. He’s moving to Boston and she’ll work in Raleigh as a sales consultant with the Prometheus Group.

They both say the real world experience of professors in the Love School has prepped them for life post-Elon.

“They all have an open door policy, and just knowing that I can come to them for advice in the future is huge,” Rodriguez said.